Surprisingly, there are still tour operators who rely on manual (spreadsheet and other) solutions to run their businesses, which invariably leads to costly errors, resource wastage and loss of business due to the slow turnaround time in getting quotes to prospective clients. In this article, Lindsay de Heer explains how to use software to streamline your tour operator business.
Letting go of your existing office workflow processes, is a bit like having someone else pack your kitchen cupboards. That feeling of not having control, not being able to find anything and trying many doors before finding what you are looking for can be daunting.
But what if the reordering of your kitchen actually meant that you spent less time there? What if it improved your workflow and you spent less time going back and forth between your appliances? What if you enjoyed your new space so much, that it inspired you to be more creative and productive?
How does this analogy translate to tour operator software? Simple. Tour operator software can reorganise your workflow, ensuring that you save time, improve accuracy and eliminate any unnecessary processes.
A purpose designed tour operator software solution looks at the core principles of your business requirements;
• User Friendly
• Client facing documentation
• Reporting functionality.
So if there are so many benefits to moving to a software solution, why is the change still so daunting? Well, let’s go back to the kitchen analogy again; if you take time to open each cupboard, see how things have been repacked, move between each appliance, and locate your most importance utensils, you are already 90% of the way to becoming aware of your new space.
By way of example, let’s look at Travelogic™, which was established more than 10 years ago by working closely with industry professionals. Travelogic offers a full, detailed demonstration of the software, which includes a step-by-step overview of what the software can do to improve your current business process and to ensure that it is the right fit for your needs.
The heart of tour operator software is the database of suppliers. Each supplier needs to be set up with all the relevant details, including and most importantly, the rate rules, rates and supplier content. This can be a time consuming task that can be overwhelming for a first time user. >Travelogic has a team of experienced database managers, who are able to load this information on your behalf, giving you the benefit of experience and accuracy.
Full training is given on all aspects of the software system. From product managers to consultants; accountants to business owners. An experienced support team assists with queries once you start using the programme. The support team have an in-depth knowledge of the product, and are able to help you when you can’t find that all important tool (utensil), when navigating the system. A user manual is also provided to refer to as well as an online help centre to answer your FAQ’s.
From Travelogic you will be able to manage your request from Quotation to Voucher. You can produce a quote (including pictures and content), put together an itinerary, pull an invoice and collate a voucher, all within the system.
If you are looking for a more dynamic Itinerary output, Travelogic have partnered with Smartbox, who will design a template to your specifications, while Travelogic provides the link required in order for the data to sit on this document output.
You use Wetu? No problem; integration is provided to ensure that all your suppliers are mapped to a Wetu point and just like that you are able to include Wetu maps and data on a Travelogic itinerary or vice versa.
Want access to Live Availability? No problem; the software integrates with companies such as ResRequest and Nightsbridge to allow a link to live availability and rates through Travelogic.
The beauty of technology means that we can assist any operator around the world. The product can be accessed anywhere, anytime and if you don’t have your own server, Travelogic can host one for you; offering a maintained and monitored solution.
Still afraid to take the plunge? That’s okay; Travelogic have done this before, and are on hand to offer advice and guidance through the implementation process. Their experienced management team and skilled developers are here to ensure that your move from a manual to a software solution is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
For more information visit www.travelogic.co.za
Read more on ‘How to keep itineraries current‘ in the March 2015 edition of the Tourism Tattler Trade Journal (pages 11-13) or read the online feature article here.